Equity Trust offers a self-directed CESA, which allows you to invest in almost any asset, tax free or tax deferred, while savings for education costs. Investing funds contributed to a CESA may potentially lead to the overall growth of the account, in a tax-advantaged fashion.
Many of the clients at Equity Trust are primarily investing in alternative assets, beyond traditional stocks, bonds and mutual funds. Some of these alternatives include real estate, private lending, promissory notes, tax liens, cryptocurrency and many others.
A Self-Directed CESA Case Study
In 2017, Brian opened Coverdell Education Savings Accounts (CESAs) for each of his four children. He saw the savings potential: money saved in a CESA can be withdrawn tax-free when used for qualified education expenses.
An active real estate investor, Brian decided to try to grow his children’s accounts using self-directed CESAs.
A CESA’s annual contribution limit is $2,000. Brian was concerned that it would take a while to build up enough capital in the account to be able to invest in real estate. His purchasing power increased when he learned that he could partner with other self-directed accounts to make investments.
Brian thought it would be difficult to find a suitable investment property for less than $50,000 in the city of Nashville, but before long he found a vacant lot in the city for $8,000.
He partnered three of his children’s self-directed CESA accounts to purchase the lot. One child’s CESA invested $4,000, and his two other children’s CESAs each invested $2,000.
Brian saw potential in the lot because he spotted new housing construction nearby, as well as a mobile home park that was on the market.
“As I reviewed the potential of the area, I believed the value was going to change once they sold that mobile home park,” Brian recalls. “Once the mobile home park sold, additional houses were built continuing to push values up.”
The land was sold 60 days later for $60,000. The sale proceeds returned the CESA accounts in the same proportion as was used for the purchase.
Brian had been investing in real estate for a while before he was aware that he could self-direct his retirement account, CESA or other accounts into real estate and other alternative investments.